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Bannister, Royals beat Reds, 7-1, for sweep

Sunday, June 14, 2009

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- It was daytime, which is Brian Bannister's time.

Bannister pitched eight sharp innings, Miguel Olivo drove in four runs and the Kansas City Royals took advantage of Cincinnati's sloppy fielding to beat the Reds 7-1 Sunday for a three-game sweep.

Bannister is 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA in three afternoon starts this season. He is 15-4 in 26 career day games, as opposed to 13-25 in night games.

"I like pitching in the day," Bannister said. "I'm kind of a morning guy, so my body feels good. I think that goes against what most guys how they feel. I try to put the pressure on them early."

A pair of errors by third baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. helped the Royals score five unearned runs.

Bannister (5-3) gave up four hits and the only run he allowed was unearned after a throwing error by shortstop Luis Hernandez in the first inning.

"We put the pressure on them offensively," Bannister said. "It was good to sweep these guys. I try to set the tone as a pitcher. I threw 11 first-pitch strikes to 13 guys to start the game. That was huge for me. I kept the ball down as good as I have done all year. They couldn't get the ball up in the air very well. I think we got hot and they got cold."

Reds starter Johnny Cueto (6-4) lowered his NL-leading ERA to 2.17 despite the loss. All five runs against him were unearned after the Hairston errors.

"I don't know if I could have a worser day," Hairston said. "Even A-Rod goes through a bad stretch. You know it's just the nature of the game and it's unfortunate, especially when we've lost four in a row.

"But we are a team that right now are scrappers, man, and Johnny Cueto was extremely positive and for a young pitcher, that's pretty impressive. As cold as you are, you can be that much red hot. You've just got to keep grinding," he said.

Kansas City outscored the Reds 18-6 in the series.

"I think we got hot and they got cold all at the same time," Bannister said. "It's amazing how fast it can happen."

It was the Royals' first three-game series sweep since Sept. 22-24 at Detroit.

"A lot of us have brooms we haven't pulled out in a while," said Mark Teahen, who had three hits.

"It's nice to get those out and use them a little bit. We're getting it going in the right direction. We didn't play the way we wanted to in May."

Bannister, who had allowed 19 runs and 23 hits in 13 2-3 innings in his previous three starts, retired 10 in a row and 17 of 18 after Hernandez's error.

Olivo doubled home a run in the first, had an RBI grounder in the fourth and added a two-run homer in the eighth.

Cueto lasted six innings and didn't have much luck behind him.

Hairston's fielding error on Billy Butler's grounder in the first prolonged the inning, and Olivo's RBI double made it 1-all.

Hairston's throwing error in the third on Willie Bloomquist's grounder led to four more runs.

"We took advantage of some mistakes," Royals manager Trey Hillman said.

Right fielder Jay Bruce dropped Alberto Callaspo's fly ball when his glove struck the bullpen fence. It was ruled a triple, allowing Willie Bloomquist and Olivo to score. Teahen added an RBI single with two outs.

It was a rough road trip for the Reds, ending with four defeats.

"That's an understatement," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Johnny threw the ball well, but we made a couple of defensive miscues and it cost us some runs. Guys don't like losing and they know how I hate losing. So we will turn it around and hopefully have a great off day tomorrow and come out smoking in the next series."

NOTES: Reds OF Willy Taveras, who is hitless in his past 32 at-bats, was held out of the lineup. That is the longest drought by a non-Reds pitcher since Denis Menke went 0 for 33 in 1973. ... The Royals signed seven draft picks, including 30th-round RHP Josh Worrell of Indiana Wesleyan. His father is former big league closer Todd Worrell.



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